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new director.
And you needed to be able to get
into his mind to see how he thinks
He was a lot more knowledgeable
than I gave him credit for going in.
And I had to learn that the hard way.
Aside from working with his actors,
he also was thinking of
the mechanics of the gags.
He always wanted to know
"What's your feeling on this?"
And I would tell him.
Most of the time, I was there.
But more than one time was I
in the process of rigging something
when he'd make a suggestion
that turned my head and made me say
"That would be a lot easier, better
way to do that. I have to be honest. "
We didn't understand.
I'd just come off of The A-Team with Baxley
who we used to call "Bax to the Max".
His attitude was "How big can it get?"
That's not McTiernan's attitude.
He has a particular vision
of what he wants to see,
and it wasn't always bigger is better.
He'll give you the time
and the chances to let you find it,
and when you found it, it works.
Screenwriter John Thomas on
the Predator's camouflage effect:
Jim had an idea
in the form of a dream he had.
In the dream, he was peering into
an ovoid chrome room through a hole.
Inside the room was a little man
who was made out of chrome.
You couldn't see him - he was reflected
everywhere at once - until he moved.
Then you saw this leading edge of
his physical being, and that's all.
That began the fascination
with what this thing looked like
and what its capabilities were.
We envisioned it as a physical adaptation.
In the film it was basically a suit.
(Helfrich) I was on the film
before they started shooting.
We had done some visual-effects tests
for the creature's invisibility effect.
We saw several tests.
One was just a single warp.
We chose the concentric
configuration of warps
as being the most interesting
and the most visible.
Because a lot of the shots
would be really long shots,
the creature would be really small.
You'd have to have enough
of an effect to see anything.
Nowadays this effect is rather commonplace,
but then it was revolutionary.
The Predator's camouflage effect
was created by dressing an actor
in a red spandex suit,
which stood out from the background.
Because the suit was
the only red element in the frame
it could in essence be pulled out of the image,
leaving behind a silhouette.
To enhance the suit's redness,
it was lit with red lights.
During production, the crew would
shoot a first take of the action
with the red-suited actor.
In additional takes
the camera's movement would be repeated,
but without the actor and with a wider lens.
Visual Effects Coordinator Joel Hynek:
Everything was done optically in those days.
We'd start with the photography
of the red suit in the jungle.
From that we'd pull a silhouette matte.
Then from that we'd pull an opposite
matte, where the Predator's clear.
The clear mattes would be pulled
from footage shot with the wider lens.
The wider lens created
images of the background
that were a different size
than those captured in the first take.
Hynek would take
the clear mattes and divide them
into between eight and 15 concentric rings,
progressing towards the centre
- what he calls "inline mattes".
The background inside the clear matte
would be of a different size
and, because Hynek had divided
the clear mattes into concentric rings,
the Predator seems to be invisible
while also bending the light
of the background.
To enhance the three-dimensionality
of this effect,
R/Greenberg's optical crew would
change the size of the rings:
The outer ones would be smaller
while the inner ones would be wider.
All of this footage - usually three negatives -
would be composited in an optical printer.
(Hynek) Each shot would take
as many as 15 passes.


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